August 12, 2021
Dear Young People of the Sahel,
Since the year 2000, the 12th of August of every year has been celebrated across the world as the
International Youth Day, a special day dedicated by the United Nations to raise awareness about the great
contributions of young people from all walks of life across the world, but also to draw attention to issues of, and
affecting, young people.
The commemoration of this day in the Sahel should feature deep reflections on the specific challenges,
which the youth of the region face. But, it is also a moment to celebrate your successes, fortitude, and resilience
as you continue to thrive even in the midst of difficulties including the COVID-19. As stated by UN SecretaryGeneral, Antonio Guterres ‘Young People are on the frontlines of the struggle to build a better future for
all. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the dire need for the kind of transformational change they
seek – and young people must be full partners in that effort.’ This is true indeed.
Beyond specifics and generally, the Sahel is a regional hub for Africa – a laboratory of ideas and innovations,
and I am glad to see young people at the forefront of unpacking the great opportunities that this great region offers
through uncountable contributions to its development, peace, and security